Song of the Day #179: ‘It’s Over’ – Aimee Mann

aimeemann2Ten Best Songs of 2008 – #3

It occurs to me as I reach number three on this list that Alex’s comment about me being drawn to the melancholy is certainly borne out by this top ten list. Many of the songs I’ve already featured are downbeat and now we arrive at Aimee Mann, the queen of melancholy, with a song titled ‘It’s Over.’

Well, fine. I won’t hide from the facts. I like sad songs, for whatever reason, and here’s another one.

Mann’s @#%&*! Smilers went wire-to-wire at the #1 spot on my album list after its release in early June. It’s perhaps the best album by one of my very favorite artists and there’s not a weak song on it. This was another case where I had trouble deciding which song to choose because I was limited to only one.

I chose ‘It’s Over’ because it epitomizes everything I love about Aimee Man’s work: Outstanding production, beautiful evocative vocals, compelling lyrics and more than anything a tone of, yes, melancholy that nobody captures quite as well as she does.

Mann has a gift for capturing powerful, devastating emotions in a few rhyming lines. I think she’s a fine case study for what it means to be a great lyricist as distinct from a great prose writer or even a great poet.

Take the chorus of this song, which sounds just lovely to the ear while summing up the hopelessness and helplessness of a person who is down on her luck but unable to accept responsibility for her circumstances:

But you sit there in the darkness
And you make plans but they’re hopeless
And you blame God when you’re lonely
And you’ll call it fate when you show up too late and it’s over

This was a great year for music, and especially for artists who were new to me. But it was nice to see the woefully under appreciated Aimee Mann deliver the finest album of the year and continue to build on an already extraordinary career.

Everything’s beautiful
Every day’s a holiday, the day you live without it
Everything changes up, everything shifts and falls unless you care about it

But you sit there in the darkness
And you make plans but they’re hopeless
And you blame God when you’re lonely
And you’ll call it fate when you show up too late and it’s over

Here on the boulevard you were the golden boy
A mix of brains and muscle
That was a lucky break
But luck is a thing you make
Not just another hustle

But you sit there in the darkness
And you make plans but they’re hopeless
And you blame God when you’re lonely
And you’ll call it fate when you show up too late and it’s over

‘Cos nothing can wait forever
They don’t give unlimited chances in life
They hand you the knife and tell you to cut it around

So baby let’s fly
Baby let’s ride, baby let’s ride

‘Cos everything’s beautiful, every day’s a holiday
But days are getting shorter
The moon and the stars report the boulevard’s last resort
And now your last supporter

But you sit there in the darkness
And you make plans but they’re hopeless
And you blame God when you’re lonely
And you’ll call it fate when you show up too late and it’s over

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #179: ‘It’s Over’ – Aimee Mann

  1. Dana says:

    Very good song, and I agree that she has sustained heself as a compelling songwriter and artist.

    By the way, why are you limiting yourself to one song by each artist on your top 10 songs. It seems to me that if more than 1 song by an artist truly finds itself in your personal top 10 for the year, than you should go with that, rather than feeling the need to impose a false diversity in this list. Would you put such a limitiation in any other context, such as top 1o fims if they happen to come from the same director or have the same lead actor?

  2. Clay says:

    Mostly for the sake of variety… if my top ten list included five Aimee Mann songs and three TV on the Radio songs that would just be boring. You generally don’t have multiple films from a director in one year, let alone ones worthy of a top ten list. But that would be a definite issue when listing songs.

    Technically, I’m limiting myself to one song per album so if an artist put out two albums last year they’d be eligible for two positions on the chart.

  3. Dana says:

    I just would be curious to know whether 5 Mann songs would be in your top 10. To me, best songs are best songs, though I understand you want to show variety to your audience.:)

  4. Clay says:

    Even I don’t have the patience to weigh a couple of hundred songs against each other, but I suppose the albums at the top of my list would have more than one song in an unrestricted top ten.

  5. Amy says:

    Listening to this for the first time this morning, I can’t help but thinking of The Wrestler, which would have been well-served by this song. It’s a testament to her strength as a lyricist that there is a specificity to her words that make them powerful while they are also general enough to have a universal quality.

    “A mix of brains and muscle/ That was a lucky break/ But luck is a thing you make” is a perfect example of how Mann can be very accessible, almost simple, on one level, yet offers a provocative idea to reflect upon when you look just a bit deeper. Since she has written for a film before (or at least had her music used extensively in one), and since she is sister-in-law to Sean Penn and Robin Wright, I wonder if she has some fascination with the cinematic image.

    This is a wonderful song. I love it.

  6. Clay says:

    I think ‘cinematic’ is a great word to describe Mann’s work (and a Google search of ‘Aimee Mann cinematic’ reveals that many others agree).

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